Latest!

Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve review: a commendable debut smartwatch

On: October 6, 2020

Xiaomi launched its first smartwatch called the Mi Watch in November last year, which took its design cues from the Apple Watch. Less than two months later, the brand launched the Mi Watch Color in China, with a completely different design. The Mi Watch Color was a premium-looking smartwatch that offered a wide range of colour options for the strap.

Also readMi Watch Revolve vs OPPO Watch: price in India, specifications and features compared

The brand has now launched the Mi Watch Color in India as the Mi Watch Revolve, and this is also its debut smartwatch in the country. The smartwatch features tons of health-related features including a VO2 Max sensor, 10 pre-loaded sports modes, a 24-hour heart rate monitor, a sleep tracker, stress monitoring, and a body energy monitor. I have been using the smartwatch for some time now and here’s how I feel about it.

Design

The Mi Watch Revolve is designed to impress. The brand is offering a single 46mm variant in Midnight Black, Neptune Blue, Cosmic Dust Maroon, Space Black, and Astral Olive colours. I received the Neptune Blue colour, which features a stainless steel chassis, with a glossy silver bezel and matte silver sides. The buckle clasp also has a mirror finish on it. While I didn’t experience it during my short stint, the glossy bezel and clasp could be prone to scratches and might not age well. I personally prefer the darker finish of the Space Black variant. If you want a more classy look, the Midnight Black variant comes with all black chassis and leather straps.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve features 22mm silicon straps, which are a little too stiff for my liking. I appreciated the small details though, like a nook under the strap loop that hooks into a strap hole and holds it in place, and the ridged back of the strap ensuring a firm fit. Xiaomi has fitted the straps with a quick-release mechanism with a simple spring-operated latch to remove the straps. This makes it easier to remove and replace straps to personalise the Mi Watch Revolve on the go.

The back of the display module is crafted from plastic and houses the heart rate sensor, 2-pin pogo connector for the charger, and Mi branding on the top. The Mi Watch Revolve comes with two physical buttons on the right. The top button acts as the home button and brings up the app drawer. The bottom button is a shortcut key, which is set to pull up activity modes by default but can be customised and assigned to other functions from the Xiaomi Wear app.

The Mi Watch Revolve is also 5ATM certified, which means it can survive underwater up to 50 meters for 30 minutes.

Display

The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve is fitted with an AMOLED panel, which is a bonus. The display is a 1.39-inch unit with 454 x 454 pixels resolution and a 326ppi pixel density. Needless to say, the screen is pretty sharp, vivid, and bright. Xiaomi has also equipped the Mi Watch Revolve with an automatic brightness feature, which works very well and I was able to use the watch outside even in direct sunlight. In case you toggle the auto-brightness off, you can manually adjust it in five incremental steps.

One of my major concerns when it comes to smartwatches is the durability of the display, especially since the Mi Watch Revolve is designed to be worn day and night. Xiaomi has ensured that the watch is protected against accidental scratches with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a DLC coating for enhanced surface hardness as well as wear resistance.

The Mi Watch Revolve also offers numerous display features. These include the aforementioned brightness control, raise to wake, Always-on display, and cover to turn off. The watch lets you fine-tune these features like setting time period or sensitivity of raise to wake, various watch faces for the always-on display, and customisable watch faces. On my unit, the raise to wake feature was glitchy. Despite the sensitivity being set to High, the display never woke up automatically when I raised my wrist and I had to press the button to do so. This could just be an issue on my unit though, and we have reached out to Xiaomi for a clarification.

Users can select from over 100 watch faces from the online store inside the Xiaomi Wear app. Xiaomi has announced that there are many India-specific watch faces on the app and it plans to offer over 1,000 watch faces in future. The cherry on the top is that any watch face you download is stored on the watch for easy swapping. Users can either long press on the display or access the ‘Watch faces’ section in settings to change.

Software and features

The Mi Watch Revolve can connect to smartphones running Android 4.4 or higher and iOS 9.0+, using Bluetooth 5.0 BLE. Android users need to install the Xiaomi Wear app, whereas iOS users will have to install the Xiaomi Wear Lite app. You will need a Mi Account to login to the app and once done, it is a breeze to use. The interface is pretty straight-forward with three tabs – Devices, Data, and Profile.

In the devices section, you will find all device-related features such as watch faces, alarms, notifications, idle alerts, and more. The data tab shows input from activities like average stress, energy, walking, calories burnt, steps, average heart rate, and standing time. You can tap on individual data sets to access a detailed graphical analysis. In the last tab, you can modify personal details like gender, birth date, height and weight, and region.

Unlike the first-generation Mi Watch that booted Android Wear with MIUI for Watch interface, the Mi Watch Revolve comes with a proprietary OS and misses out on support for third-party apps from Android Play Store. However, Xiaomi has loaded the watch with tons of features and I didn’t feel the need for a separate app for any particular app.

The interface can be controlled by gestures or physical buttons. Swiping down from the top brings up the list of notifications, and swiping up from the bottom pulls up the quick settings interface. The latter offers toggle like display flashlight, lift to wake, screen lock (long-press shortcut button to unlock), DND, always-on, and settings. Swiping from right to left scrolls through heart rate monitor, energy indicator, sleep tracker, weather, stress monitor, music playback, and activity status.

The home button on top pulls up the app drawer, which has icons for alarm, stopwatch, timer, altimeter, compass, Find Phone, Help, and breathing exercise, among others. The bottom physical button is by default set to bring up workout modes. However, it can be customised to open individual workout modes, heart rate interface, sleep interface, stress interface, and breathing exercise, to name a few. The breathing exercise includes a visual image asking you to inhale and exhale in sync with the image and it works pretty well to calm you down.

During my stint with the watch, I found most features to be working as intended. However, if you have several unread WhatsApp messages, the watch stacks them together showing only the number of notifications and not a preview. Apps like Telegram, Instagram, and Facebook, where I get very few notifications, all showed a preview of the message.

As is the case with other affordable smartwatches,you will still need to pick up your smartphone to respond to these notifications as you cannot do so directly from the watch. You can however mute or end an incoming call from the watch screen.

Health and fitness features

The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve comes with various professional sports modes including running, cycling, outdoor running, hiking, treadmill, spinning, walking, exercise, pool swimming, and open water swimming. Due to the lockdown, I was limited in my testing of the smartwatch, but I was able to give the walking mode a spin on my terrace. The watch shows the duration, distance, pace and heart rate in real-time during the workout. The Mi Watch Revolve comes with integrated GPS  and GLONASS, which is helpful in tracking your route if you’re running, hiking or cycling. This allows users to leave their smartphones behind while going out for an activity.

After you end your workout, you are presented with a detailed analysis including distance, total time, calories burnt, total steps, average speed, average heart rate, pace, stride, and VO2 Max data. The last option shows oxygen consumption during the workout, energy consumption, and recovery time from the workout.  The Mi Watch Revolve also stores the data of all your workout sessions in one place so that you can compare them with each other and improve. Needless to say, this is an ideal wearable for anyone looking for an affordable yet powerful fitness tracker. During my stint, I didn’t notice any ghost steps being registered either, which is a plus.

Coming to health tracking, there are numerous options like heart rate monitor, body energy monitoring, stress monitoring, and sleep detection. The watch can continuously monitor your heart rate and warn you of any abnormal activity. You can turn off the continuous heart rate monitoring to save battery but the feature needs to be on for the stress, energy, and sleep monitor to work accurately.

Speaking of which, all three features (sleep, stress, and body energy monitoring) worked well. Right after I wake up in the morning, the watch shows my stress status to be relaxed and body energy level to be high, which is ideal. I could see my body energy level dip and stress level increase as the day progressed, indicating that the watch is able to detect changes accurately. These features helped me to have a rough idea of my physical and mental state, and take measures to improve those. This is particularly useful for those who are voluntarily locked down and cooped up in their houses as it helps keep track of mental health.

Xiaomi announced that the Mi Watch Revolve uses the Firstbeat Motion Algorithm working on the principles of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to calculate the stress and body energy levels. While I could see that the features are definitely working, I don’t have any means to check the accuracy of the actual data being shown. The sleep analysis is pretty detailed with data like deep sleep, light sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.

On the flip side, I found the sedentary alert to be glitchy as it would constantly remind me to get up when I just sat down after taking a few steps.

Battery life

The Mi Watch Revolve is equipped with a 420mAh battery, which Xiaomi claims can last up to two weeks on moderate usage and up to a week for a heavy user. The 2-pin pogo charger completely charges the battery from zero to 100 percent in just under 3 hours. With around one hour of walking every day, continuous heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, app notifications, and idle alert on, the Mi Watch Revolve’s battery dipped to 70 percent in two days and at this rate, it seems like the watch will last around a week for me. Xiaomi has promised 6-7 days of usage with heavy usage and 2 weeks with moderate usage, which is in line with my expereince.

Bottomline

The Mi Watch Revolve is priced at Rs 9,999 until Diwali in India, post which it will retail at Rs 10,999. There are a few niggles like glitchy raise to wake and confused idle alerts, which I hope Xiaomi will fix with a software update. Having said that, the Mi Watch Revolve is a solid all-round package, which offers useful fitness modes, comprehensive sleep tracking, accurate heart rate monitoring and several wellness features. Moreover, the smartwatch looks incredibly stylish and premium, which separates it from other wearables in this segment.

Pricebaba’s rating: 9/ 10

What works:

  • Premium design
  • Brilliant AMOLED display
  • Accurate fitness tracking
  • VO2 Max sensor

What doesn’t:

  • Raise to wake is faulty
  • Glitchy idle alerts
Comments
Tags:
Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.